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Authors: Dinesh D'Souza

The Roots of Obama's Rage

BOOK: The Roots of Obama's Rage
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Table of Contents
For Ed McVaney
Friend and Co-Conspirator
his is a book unlike any other on Barack Obama. It is not the typical effusive book of apostolic praise, but neither is it a crude bashing of Obama. Rather, it is an effort to understand Obama, to discover what motivates him, and to formulate a theory that explains his actions in the White House. It offers a completely original theory for what drives Obama, and yet remarkably the theory is derived from Obama’s own autobiography and Obama’s own self-description. If you read this book, it will not only help you to understand Obama, it will also help you to predict what he is going to do next. I make three specific predictions in the last chapter, and in the twelve months following the book’s original hardcover publication, all three have already come to pass.
I wrote this book in two months in the summer of 2010. I have written ten books, and this is the first one that I have written in sixty days. But the central thesis came to me as a kind of epiphany, shortly after reading Obama’s
Dreams from My Father
and after discussing its ideas with my friend Bruce Schooley. I was struggling to reconcile Obama’s self-presentation as an African American with his father’s experience as an anti-colonialist from Kenya. How, I wondered, could the son’s experience and the father’s dream fit together? Then it hit me. The son’s account of his own experience was largely bogus. Obama never sat at a segregated lunch counter, and neither did any of his ancestors. He is not descended, as most African Americans are, from slaves. In fact, his accounts of prejudice in his autobiography are very slight and, it turns out, largely made up. In fact, the son’s formative experiences in Hawaii, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Kenya very closely track the anti-colonial journey of his father, and thus there is no conflict to be resolved. The son consciously chose to make himself in the image of his father, just as he tells us in his book.
So finally I had a theory to work with, and once I put on the anti-colonial spectacles, literally everything about Obama fell into place. Suddenly weird things that he was saying and doing started to make perfect sense. I saw that the broad sweep of Obama’s actions in the first two years of his presidency, from expanding the role of the government at home to shrinking the imprint of America’s role in the world, could now be fully explained. No, Obama wasn’t anti-American and he wasn’t a secret Muslim; within the framework of his ideology, he was doing things that he believed were good for America. But now I also could see why many people suspected him of being anti-American and a closet Muslim. From Obama’s ideological perspective, it was and is a good thing to shrink America’s global footprint, to cut America down to size, if you will. Obama views Muslims who are fighting against America in Iraq and Afghanistan as freedom-fighters, somewhat akin to Indians or Kenyans fighting to push out their British colonial occupier. So the beauty of my (or rather Obama’s) anti-colonial theory is that it makes sense of the facts in the world, facts that have eluded other comprehensive attempts to explain Obama.
When I finished the manuscript, I gave it to Steve Forbes, the editor of
, and asked him to read it and see what he thought. Right away he called me in to meet the senior editors, and together we agreed that I would write the cover story for the next issue. My article, “How He Thinks,” proved to be a sensation. The reason was that many business guys voted for Obama, hoping that he would govern like Bill Clinton. Now they were having buyer’s remorse. The prevailing idea was that Obama is clueless; Obama has never run a business and he doesn’t understand business. My argument was that Obama
business. He is captive to an ideology that sees capitalism as a form of neocolonialism. Bringing down the rich and the big, bad corporations is the central focus of Obama’s agenda. I backed up the article with telling facts and telling quotations from Obama himself. The article landed like a bombshell. It was virally circulated on the web, and resulted in a flurry of inquires to the White House. Then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs went on the attack. He denounced my article as a revival of the so-called birther controversy, the issue of whether Obama was born in Hawaii or in Kenya. But the birther claim was nowhere discussed in the article, and it is specifically repudiated in this book. My book was confirmed, not refuted, when Obama finally produced his birth certificate. So the birther allegation was pure distortion. Then Gibbs suggested that the article was somehow racist, because it raised the issue of Obama’s African background. But again, the article specifically noted that Obama’s ideology has nothing to do with race. The whole point is that Obama is not a race guy, he is an anti-colonial guy, and anti-colonialism is only peripherally about race. (The British didn’t conquer India because the natives were brown; they conquered it in order to benefit themselves and rule the place.)
Not content to attack me before the media and in his blog, Gibbs then called in representatives of
and berated them for publishing the article. Under White House pressure, the magazine agreed to internally fact-check the article. Turns out that it contained two very minor errors. In one case I suggested that Obama went to Pakistan before he was seventeen years old, while in fact he went a couple of years later. In the second case I cited Obama saying America has 2 percent of the world’s energy but uses 25 percent. In fact, Obama said America has 2 percent of the world’s oil but uses 25 percent. None of this detracted from the central thesis of the article.
ran a correction on its website, but stood by the article.
The effect of Gibbs’s mania, probably directed by the man who was the subject of my book, activated the Obama Choir. This group interrupted its unceasing songs of praise for Obama to savagely attack my article and book. Out of the gate came Media Matters, the left-wing watchdog group, with a flurry of accusations. Most of it was rhetorical humbug, but the multiple press releases from the group did contain a couple of specific allegations of falsehood. First, I had quoted Obama faulting “British Petroleum” for the BP oil spill; Media Matters noted that Obama didn’t use the company’s former name “British Petroleum” in his original speech. True, but he used it more than once in his subsequent comments on the issue. If Media Matters had bothered to Google-search “Obama and British Petroleum,” the group would see multiple references, from the
New York Times
to the BBC to the British press, of Obama using the term “British Petroleum.” In fact, Obama’s own ambassador to Great Britain, Louis Susman, is quoted by the BBC saying that Obama used the term but intends to stop doing so in the future.
Media Matters also faulted me for saying that the Obama administration had approved, through the Export-Import Bank, a $2 billion loan guarantee to the Brazilian company Petrobras for oil-drilling in Brazil. The group protested that there were Bush appointees on the board who approved the transaction. Yes, but left-over appointees at government agencies are often eager to go along with the policies of a new administration. Moreover, the Export-Import Bank decision had to be cleared by the Obama White House. So obviously Obama bears the responsibility for policies proposed by a federal executive agency and signed off on by the White House. In its customary obfuscating way, Media Matters was trying to clear Obama of accountability for the decisions of his own administration. In March 2011, six months after this book came out, Obama went to Brazil and openly praised the Brazilians for their U.S.-subsidized oil drilling program.
Also taking up the cue from the White House was Maureen Dowd, who wrote a column in the
New York Times
calling me an “Ann Coulter in pants.” The general theme of Dowd’s article was a communication of Dowd’s own sputtering rage and incredulity. Keith Olbermann on MSNBC promptly declared me the second most dangerous man in America, which I found a bit offensive; I had been working hard to be, in Olbermann’s fevered world, the most dangerous man. I was attacked on Chris Matthews’s show
, and one TV network even trotted out Colin Powell, who had endorsed Obama, to warn that we should focus on Obama’s ideas and not trace them back to his African roots. Powell’s disagreement is less with me than with Obama: between his 2004 Democratic National Convention Speech and his election to the presidency in 2008, Obama was the one who was handing out his autobiography tracing his ideas to his African roots.
My favorite skirmish was on the C-SPAN program
After Words
, in which I was interviewed for an hour by journalist Jonathan Alter. Alter is a former editor of
and an incorrigible Obama sycophant. His book
The Promise
is a kind of hymn to Obama. On the show Alter went into major attack mode, but so eager was he to vindicate his man that he went over the line, contesting every single point, refusing to consider counter-evidence, and ultimately making himself look ridiculous. A sample exchange was when Alter lectured me that in America we don’t judge people by the character of their fathers. Reagan’s father was an alcoholic, Alter said, but we don’t assume that Reagan’s personality or values were shaped by his father. Yes, I responded, but then Reagan didn’t write a book titled
Dreams from My Father
. Again, I am only following Obama’s lead in making his father the central figure in the formation of his identity and ideals.
Despite Alter’s bluster, he was raising a point that many other critics have raised, namely that Obama hardly knew his father so how could he be so heavily influenced by him? To anyone familiar with Freud or modern psychology, the question seems naïve. Indeed, there is a whole body of psychological literature on the powerful and traumatic impact that absentee fathers have on their sons. More significant, I cannot see how any careful reader of Obama’s book or this book could still be mystified by such a question. Both books provide a clear answer: the larger-than-life image of the absentee father was cultivated in young Obama’s mind by his mother. Repeatedly, unceasingly, she convinced her son that he should develop his values and identity in imitation of the senior Obama. Strangely enough the father’s absence helped this myth to grow in young Obama’s mind; if the real father had been around, his son would have discovered promptly enough that Barack Obama Sr. was a deeply flawed man. In fact, Obama discovered these harsh truths about his father much later, mainly through his sister. The discovery provoked a massive crisis of identity which young Obama resolved only by making a month-long pilgrimage to Africa, culminating in a life-changing visit to his father’s grave.
BOOK: The Roots of Obama's Rage
5.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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